Garmin UNBOUND Gravel Ushers in a New Era of Gravel Racing in Emporia

Garmin UNBOUND Gravel Ushers in a New Era of Gravel Racing in Emporia

Two days, 2,213 cyclists ranging in age from 12 to 88 representing 48 states and 28 countries raced on the gravel of the Flint Hills surrounding Emporia, Kans. for the 2021 Garmin UNBOUND Gravel presented by Craft Sportswear and produced by Life Time. With two 350-mile cyclists riding for 24-hours without sleep, the battle to the finish brought athletes into a new realm of determination.

Over the weekend Emporia hosted 2,213 cyclists over all six distances. 931 racers in the 200, 107 in the XL and 772 in the 100. UNBOUND Gravel also had an increase in women riders over last year. Additionally, the 2021 XL had the largest field of athletes to date.

200-Mile Distance Women’s Division

Lauren DeCrescenzo

1st: Lauren De Crescenzo, 30, of Atlanta, Ga. with a time of 12:06:49
2nd: Amity Rockwell, 28, of Oakland, Calif., with a time of 12:22:15
3rd: Emily Newsom, 37, of Fort Worth, Texas with a time of 12:30:52
4th: Whitney Allison, 33, of Fort Collins, Colo., with a time of 12:34:19
5th: Shayna Powless, 27, of Jacksonville, Fla., with a time of 12:37:50

“This is my honeymoon! I got married on Sunday and my husband is still out there!”, exclaimed De Crescenzo.  “We’re on a road trip from Colorado back home to Atlanta. UNBOUND Gravel, I can’t believe this just happened. I’m so happy!”

200-Mile Distance Men’s Division 

Ian Boswell UNBOUND Gravel 2021

1st: Ian Boswell, 30, of Barnet, Vt. with a time of 10:17:23:13
2nd: Laurens Ten Dam, 40, of Oudorp, North Holland, with a time of 10:17:23:28
3rd: Peter Stetina, 33, of Santa Rosa, Calif., with a time of 10:18:34:62
4th: Ted King, 38, of Richmond, Vt., with a time of 10:18:34:65
5th: Colin Strickland, 34, of Austin, Texas, with a time of 10:25.34

The race marked Boswell’s second time competing in a gravel event. Post-win, he noted, “There’s something special about this. I didn’t put money on myself, and there’s a lot of mutual respect in the front group. Hats off to everyone out there; it’s a feat for anyone, no matter your category. “

100-Mile Distance Women’s Division

1st: Lauren Stephens, 35, of Dallas, Texas, with a time of 5:41:58
2nd: Emma Langley, 25, of Richmond, VA, with a time of 5:51:11
3rd:  Jessica Cygan, 28, of Colorado Springs, Colo., with a time of 6:13:39
4th:  Marisa Boaz, 34, of Waukee, Iowa, with a time of 6: 16: 18
5th:  Karen Jarchow, 36, of Eagle, Colo. with a time of 6:17:41

2021 marks Stephens’ second consecutive win. When the reigning champ was asked if she plans to go for number three in 2022, she replied, “I really enjoy the 100. My husband is out there doing the 350 right now and it’s super cool that he enjoys the ultra-distance and I love doing this one. I think I’ll keep doing it for a while!”

100-Mile Distance Men’s Division 

1st: Stephen Hyde, 34, of Easthampton, Mass. with a time of 5:20:13
2nd: Nate Maddox, 24, of Edwards, Colo.  with a time of 5:27:09
3rd: John Croom, 27, of Colorado Springs, Colo., with a time of 5:34:35
4th: David Wiens, 56, of Gunnison, Colo., with a time of 5:36:33
5th: Shadd Smith, 49, of Overland Park, Kan., with a time of 5:41:22

“Yeah, absolutely,” Hyde responded when asked if the race was what he expected. “I’ve been coming to Kansas for the last 10 years and it’s getting better and better. This is an incredible course.”

350-Mile (XL) Distance Women’s Division

1st: Lael Wilcox, 34, Anchorage, Alaska, with a time of 26:55:24
2nd: Amanda Nauman, 31, of Lake Forest, Calif., with a time of 29:01:51
3rd: Christie Tracy, 42, of Austin, Texas, with a time of 31:56:42
4th: Rachel Wills, 37, of Oak Harbor, Wash., with a time of 33:40:34
5th: Cynthia Frazier, 28, Lexington, Va., of with a time of 33:40:34

“I think I got water seven times and I fell in a rut — it was rugged!” said Wilcox. “It really takes resilience; some things go wrong and then you just stick with it, and something will get better. It’s about not quitting and not getting down on yourself.  Not every moment will be perfect but in the end we’re just fortunate to be out there.”

350-Mile (XL) Distance Men’s Division

1st: Taylor Lideen, 31, Phoenix, Ariz., with a time of 22:57:14
2nd: Will Loevner, 23, Allison Park, Pa., with a time of 24:32:40
3rd: Mat Stephens, 38, Dallas, Texas, with a time of 24:48:12
4th: Jay Petervary, 48, Victor, Idaho, with a time of 24:58:53
+5th: Jesse Stauffer, 33, Selinsgrove, Pa., with a time of 25:00:59

Riding at an average pace of 15.51 mph, Lideen’s time marks the fastest finish in XL history.  “Bucket list. It was awesome,” said Lideen while describing his overnight ride. “I’ve done gravel races all over and this is one I’ve always wanted to do. Sitting at the computer in December I thought, ‘I’m pretty bad at lotteries but we’ll try it out’– and here we are.”

The event’s winningest rider, Dan Hughes and his son Charles Hughes successfully fundraised more than $15,000 for the Life Time Foundation and Outride through their Back of the Pack Challenge, for which they began the 200-mile race last and received pledges for every rider they passed throughout the course. The Life Time Foundation works to better food nutrition and increase scratch cooking processes in schools while Outride works to put bikes in schools. The two organizations have partnered in 2021 to bring their collective causes to schools across the country, beginning this year with Emporia.

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